A Moderately-Priced Rye That's Worth The Hunt

Rye is all the rage these days, and perhaps it has been for a while now. But tasting through newcomer releases, one might be hard-pressed to understand or justify the price tags many of these attempt to fetch. What's more head-scratching is that, in the seemingly endless quest for differentiation, a lot of new ryes are rather extreme with their mash bills. One consequence is that the levels of heat and spiciness they convey is equally extreme. 

The Middle West Spirits Straight Rye $44 is an outlier. Made of a four grain blend of pumpernickel rye, red winter wheat, corn, and barley, it's a treat for the senses. Chestnut-colored and pleasing on the nose, it's easily recognizable as rye, but offered in a relaxed way. That same chill vibe carries into the mouth, where the value of the blending is showcased. At 96 proof, it hides the heat well under a blanket of warm baking spice and all-around friendliness. High quality, but unpretentious, this well-rounded whiskey is sure to be a crowd pleaser. That it's under $50 just makes it a smoking bargain. Worth the hunt. 93 points.